Re: revised CGI/1.0 specification (Rob McCool)
Message-id: <>
From: (Rob McCool)
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1993 19:12:50 -0600
In-Reply-To: George Phillips <>
       "revised CGI/1.0 specification" (Nov 19,  4:18pm)
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To: George Phillips <>,
Subject: Re: revised CGI/1.0 specification
 * revised CGI/1.0 specification  by George Phillips (
 *    written on Nov 19,  4:18pm.
 * Rob sez:
 * >The problem is that I'd like scripts to have the flexibility of returning
 * >the header if they so choose, without the server deciding for them.
 * Well, my concern was purely an efficiency one, but it's not the
 * header parsing that's the problem.  It's the copying of the
 * rest of the data that I wish to avoid.  If the script and the
 * server agree ahead of time, the script can be forked with its
 * output directed straight at the network rather than having to
 * go through the server.  You can decide for yourself if that
 * copying overhead is worth avoiding.  I would expect the
 * server and the script to have some extra-interface agreement
 * on the output format -- the server would never unilaterally
 * demand that the script do HTTP/1.0 output unless configuration
 * information said the script wanted it.

Hmmm, I see what you mean. Yes, the copying overhead is definitely worth
avoiding. I can't really think of a good way to configure whether a script
will want to have the header parsed or not...

 * Anyhow, I think the change to "Gateway-protocol:" is a good one.
 * >Sending the whole header to the script.
 * If you feel it's too complex to send the header, then let's not do
 * that.  I think you're right, the script will rarely care about
 * anything but "Accept:".  How about we add another environment
 * variable for "Accept:" fields and leave room for more fields as
 * that becomes necessary.  Call it "HDR_ACCEPT", and it will contain
 * ";" separated concatenations of the Accept: headers (I think ";"
 * separated is within the MIME way of things).  Future header fields
 * will use the variables "HDR_fieldname".
 * Or, we could just dump the whole header into "HEADER".

I'd rather just have an env. variable like "HTTP_ACCEPT" with what you
describe above.

 * Now for a couple of picky naming things of my own:
 * PROTOCOL_METHOD -- is "REQUEST_METHOD" more meaningful?

Both good points.

 * And a few minor points:
 * >QUERY_STRING:          That which follows the ?, untouched
 * Will not be in the environment if original URL has no "?"


 * >argv[2....] is the decoded query info, split on pluses or ampersands.
 * And should not appear if there is no query.  But this conflicts
 * with:
 * >If the resulting string is too lengthy to place on the command line,
 * >the server will not provide argv[2.....] at all and the script must
 * >either report an error to the client or decode the URL itself.
 * Well, if QUERY_STRING is only optionally in the environment, it
 * doesn't matter what happens with argv[2....].

With QUERY_STRING specified, if argv[2...] is unset then the script knows it
was too long to translate.